There was a lot of distance action this weekend, but the biggest performance in Japan came at the Fuse Sprint meet in Tottori. Lucking out with a maxed out legal tailwind of 2.0 m/s, Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) took 0.02 off the national record in his first sub-10 clocking to win in 9.95. 2nd-place Shuhei Tada (Sumitomo Denko) also scored a PB of 10.01, with sub-10 man Yuki Koike (Sumitomo Denko) 3rd in 10.13. Despite a scratch from former NR holder Yoshihide Kiryu and a weak run from relay regular Aska Cambridge, the Japanese men's 4x100 m looks to be in a stronger position than ever.
Fuse also produced a national record in the women's 100 m hurdles thanks in part to an ideal +1.8 m/s tailwind. Masumi Aoki (77 Ginko) equalled the 12.87 NR held by Asuka Terada (Japan Create) for the win, with Terada running 12.89 for 2nd. Both women are still short of the Olympic qualifying standard, but the solid runs will push them up further from their current positions of 32nd and 33rd in the 40-deep quota.
In distance action Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials meet turned out the fastest times of the weekend. After having run 27:01 twice last fall during the blackout period on Olympic qualifying, Richard Kimunyan Yator (Hitachi Butsuryu) came up agonizingly short of the 27:28.00 standard for 10000 m, running 27:28.79 to win the A-heat in what had to have been his last shot at getting the standard. The great Paul Tanui (Sunbelx) was 2nd in 27:43.98, with the next four runners, all Kenyan, going under 28 minutes. Justus Soget (Honda) came even closer to Olympic qualification, winning the 5000 m A-heat in a PB of 13:14.10 just 0.60 short of the standard.
Dolphine Nyaboke Omare (USE TC) won the women's 5000 m in 15:38.87 over Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) and Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto), 2nd and 3rd in 15:42.19 and 15:42.91.
The amateur club runner Kaneshige then went straight up to Niigata for the Denka Athletics Challenge Cup, where less than 24 hours later she won the women's 10000 m in a PB of 32:46.83 with a 3:02 final 1000 m. Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University's Ren Tazawa took one last shot at hitting the men's 10000 m Olympic standard, but after a quick start he faded over the last quarter of the race to win in 27:52.52, the only runner to break 28 minutes.
Naomi Muthoni Kariuki (Univ. Ent.) won the Denka women's 5000 m in 15:03.01, the sole runner to clear the Olympic the standard. Steeplechase specialist Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) took the men's 5000 m in a PB of 13:39.00 ahead of the National Championships later this month.
At Saitama's Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials meet, Titus Wambua (SID Group) joined Kimunyan and Tazawa in making it a weekend of sub-28 winning times all around, taking the men's 10000 m A-heat in 27:49.89. Charles Kamau Wanjiku (Musashino Gakuin Univ.) took the 5000 m A-heat in 13:53.03.
Kanagawa's National University Individual Championships saw the meet records fall in both the women's and men's 5000 m. In the women's race photofinish specialist Narumi Kobayashi of National University Women's Ekiden champ Meijo University replicated her close victory at March's National University Half Marathon, winning in a meet record 15:33.69 by 0.43 over first-year Seira Fuwa (Takushoku Univ.). Tomoki Ichimura (Tokai Univ.) won the men's 5000 m, likewise going under the meet record in 13:45.20 to win by 1.42 over Hiroki Wakabayashi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.). Video of both races can be had here.
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